Whose Side Are You On?
Borders And Allegiances (Critical Thinking on Memorial Day)
Here goes AleXander Hirka again—flogging that anti-war horse. You’d think by now he’d know that while he imagines all the people living life in peace, that there is an excitement, a romance, perhaps a testosterone necessity to this organized violence that makes war a force that gives people meaning.
But so be it. With his eye on the borders and allegiances of history, his Ukrainian roots, the emotional satisfactions of Memorial Day, and the multi-ring blood-shedding money-making circus that war is, his words and images spill forth.
I am of Ukranian descent.
Just before the current war began, and ever since, I have been reading a lot about the history of Ukraine.
My father was Ukrainian, my mother Ukrainian and Polish. I am first generation born in the USofA. I went to St. George Ukrainian Catholic School and experienced, through family members, the pride and prejudice of Ukranian nationalism.
I didn’t know my father very well.
He was born in 1913 in Dobrovody, Galicia (Ukrainian: Галичина, romanized: Halychyna)—once a part of Poland, as well as Austria—a historical and geographic region spanning what is now southeastern Poland and western Ukraine.
He met my mother in New York City around 1950. I was born at Bellevue Hospital, NYC, in 1951.
My parents divorced when I was 10. My father died at age 52, when I was 14.
I lived with my mother and spent limited time with my father those last four years.
In the later part of World War II my mother was living in Austria (she was born in Poland), and spoke to me of her experiences being in shelters as bombs rained down on Salzburg. Almost forty percent of the buildings were destroyed or damaged by “Allied” bombers—just days before their tanks rolled in.
But as to my father, I knew nothing of his life before he came over to this country.
Nothing at all about his childhood, his family, or the first 37 years of his life in the Old World.
World War Two (The Good War)